Commentary: Only True Believers Welcome at CDF Meetings

By Mike Lednovich

Evidently Citizens Defending Freedom – Nassau believes freedom isn’t for everybody.

CDF’s meeting at American Beach Thursday night was off limits to local media and certain people it felt weren’t embracing the group’s “you must think like us” doctrine.

A Fernandina Observer reporter and several people had registered for the CDF event, were issued tickets, but at the 11th hour were told via email they were not welcome. CDF did allow the online Citizens Journal to attend.

Even though the CDF meeting was being held at a county building, Nassau County Sheriff’s Department informed those who were told not to attend that if they showed up for the meeting they would be trespassing. (We haven’t yet confirmed that this is a correct reading of the law, but we don’t argue with law enforcement officers unless a judge has ruled against them.)

CDF obviously doesn’t consider the principle of free speech and the role of the media as the fourth estate as the cornerstones of a democratic society. A healthy democracy thrives on the free flow of information, differing perspectives, and a generous exchange of ideas. However, banning people who think differently than Citizens Defending Freedom raises serious concerns about the organization’s commitment to these fundamental principles.

CDF – Nassau Executive Director Jack Knocke did not respond to an email requesting a comment on cherry-picking who could attend the CDF event.

Our nation’s founding fathers valued a free and independent press. Thomas Jefferson griped continuously about the newspapers of his era – but he kept stacks of them by his bed at Monticello and read them all. Apparently they didn’t disturb his sleep.

CDF is a non-profit organization. What other Amelia Island non-profit prohibits people from attending its meetings? The answer is none.

An organization like CDF that claims to defend freedom should, by definition, embrace the principles of openness, inclusivity, and free expression. CDF must understand that the right to free speech is not limited to its own members or supporters alone, but extends to all individuals, including members of the media. By attempting to control the narrative and exclude dissenting voices, Citizens Defending Freedom subverts its own credibility and exposes a fundamental contradiction of its stated mission.

CDF’s mission states: “Citizens Defending Freedom is an organization that empowers and equips American citizens to defend their freedoms and liberties at the local level. By streamlining and simplifying activism, we support and champion American citizens who want to stand up for their independence.”

Shelia Cocchi has been an active critic of CDF and its actions opposing the Pride Festival/Parade and a recent drag queen bingo event that raised money to fund college scholarships.

She obtained a ticket to the CDF event, but was informed by Knocke that she could not attend. “Hostile press and disruptors are NOT welcome,” Knocke’s notice to Cocchi said. Linda Hart Green, an occasional Fernandina Observer contributor and an ordained minister, was also told not to attend.

When CDF actively avoids diverse viewpoints and only permits media outlets that align with its ideology, it creates an echo chamber. What’s wrong with echo chambers?  They reinforce pre-existing beliefs, strangle critical thinking, and breed intolerance toward differing opinions. A healthy democracy encourages the collision of ideas and encourages stout debate.

By shutting out dissenting voices, Citizens Defending Freedom risks becoming an insular group disconnected from the realities and concerns of our Amelia Island society.

Editor’s note: The Observer welcomes thoughtful commentaries when submitted. The opinions expressed in any commentary are solely those of the writer.

104 Comments
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Richard Cain
Richard Cain(@richardcain)
11 months ago

These people who were disinvited from this meeting … what was their agenda or purpose? To listen or to disrupt? Do the people in this organization attend YOUR events and meetings and disrupt (I haven’t read that they have and most certainly this publication would report on it if they did)? I think your intentions and motives are very suspect. Yes, hide your troublemaking behind screams of “freedom of speech”. Or you just wanted to be able to cry that you weren’t allowed to attend. Boohoohoo. If you aren’t actually a member of a group and aren’t interested in joining … then do everyone a favor and stay home. Or get your goons in the Biden Administration to monitor the group as potential terrorists … I think that is what your fellow travelers like to do. There’s enough squabbling going on in this community. Put all your hate in check and stay home. You are no better than they are. And no … I’m not a member of this CDF group … I have better things to do with my time and I don’t want to be targeted by the USG.

Anonymous
Anonymous(@pj)
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard Cain

The same could be said about your group’s focus on Pride activities, “Put all your hate in check and stay home.”

Richard Cain
Richard Cain(@richardcain)
11 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

As I said … I’m not a member of this group. work on your reading comprehension skills. But I don’t know that this group disrupted or attended the Pride events. Did they? And who are you Anonymous? So typical ….

Patricia
Patricia (@guest_70141)
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard Cain

what are the people who aren’t like you or many (Pride, trans, or gay) doing to harm you are anyone else. I am more worried about the people who promote the agenda of hate, the ones who stormed the capitol, the radical groups who throw their beliefs. This is America and I highly doubt anyone would disrupt this meeting.

Guest
Guest (@guest_70017)
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard Cain

Look. It does not matter how you spin your narrative. The bottom line is that the meeting was held in a public building. What that means is that all citizens, including the press, have the constitutional right to speak publicly if peaceful and civil. Getting the Nassau County Sheriff’s Dept. to deny entry, attendance, statements or questions was downright dirty, cowardly and unlawful. The reporters attend meetings all the time and never disrupt anyone. They just sit there and take notes. You can play it how you want but the real disruption was the deputy telling the reporter to leave. Anybody with a brain can figure that out.

Mark Brummer
Mark Brummer (@guest_70033)
11 months ago
Reply to  Guest

Well stated

Jen Wanta
Jen Wanta (@guest_70105)
11 months ago
Reply to  Guest

Guest- Anyone with a brain has seen, while reporters take notes, they often don’t report the truth particularly if from New Leader or Observer

Linda Mills
Linda Mills (@guest_70032)
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard Cain

Great answer
the Biden liberals are at it again
can’t wait for the conservatives to be back in Office
I have a question who are getting the scholarships
how did they earn them
that was never mentioned

Julia Newhouse
Julia Newhouse(@jnewt)
11 months ago
Reply to  Linda Mills

You obviously dont know your politics: conservatives are at the helm.

Linda Mills
Linda Mills (@guest_70098)
11 months ago
Reply to  Julia Newhouse

Help me to understand which helm
you must be more specific
And please don’t insult me

Robert S. Warner, Jr.
Robert S. Warner, Jr. (@guest_70071)
11 months ago
Reply to  Linda Mills

Linda – 5 days. Your “conservatives” in Congress will run this ship of state on the rocks.

Julia Newhouse
Julia Newhouse(@jnewt)
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard Cain

And you, sir, are no better than they are either, calling out goons??? Whether you’re part of the group or not, you’re part of the problem for sure. Maybe those being barred were interested in what ‘the other side says’, and why have private in a public place?And why so secretive on content and purpose? It’s unconscionable for CDF to hold a gathering on sacred property of a community that they exclude. So many thing’s wrong!

Jen Wanta
Jen Wanta (@guest_70050)
11 months ago
Reply to  Julia Newhouse

Lol sacred property of a community – quite dramatic – content and purpose on website so you’re smearing -are you against protecting children and numerous other constitutionally granted rights? perhaps if the papers and the Lednovich’s of the world were truthful vs creating fear/ inciting people so death and other threats weren’t received there’d be different communication paths- and if you read Knocke’s response you’d see that he, or the organization, offered to meet with people beforehand

Julia Newhouse
Julia Newhouse(@jnewt)
11 months ago
Reply to  Jen Wanta

Sacred property of the black community, dear lady! That’s right, bring the word children in and it makes everyone hold their heart. Your agenda is totally opposite of protecting children!

Jen Wanta
Jen Wanta (@guest_70106)
11 months ago
Reply to  Julia Newhouse

“Dear Lady” – how condescending – there are reasons drinking age is 21, driving age is 18 and on and on – if keeping children from being sexualized and kept from adult entertainment is Not protecting children then what is?

Robert S. Warner, Jr.
Robert S. Warner, Jr. (@guest_70070)
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard Cain

It’s not your purpose to decide on what is “disruption” or not. It’s the purpose of our general public to guarantee freedom of speech – and behave accordingly. The presumption is that it is free speech and open to all. “Goons”. Think you had best review your definition – and apply it appropriately.

Richard Cain
Richard Cain(@richardcain)
11 months ago

Yes, the Biden Administration and its followers are basically goons … harrassing people right and left. If the shoe fits, wear it. Sorry if you don’t like being called out for how you behave. Freedom of speech does not guarantee you a right to attend meetings where you are not welcome. You can post your rant on here or jabber away in the street outside but you do not have carte blanche to attend any and all meetings. That the meeting was held in a government-owned building means nothing … if they rented it or got a permit to use it means it is effectively THEIR building to control access as they like. But face it … no matter where these poor people would meet the leftist jack boots would show up and make a nuisance of themselves … because that is what they do best. You folks have made it dangerous to go out in public on this island.

Linda Mills
Linda Mills (@guest_70099)
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard Cain

Well said

Barb Gingher
Barb Gingher(@angeldoccie2003yahoo-com)
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard Cain

Words matter and the hate and the anger toward the LGBTQ community has made them a target.

Barbara Gingher
Barbara Gingher(@angeldoccie2003yahoo-com)
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard Cain

“GOONS”????? Did anyone ever teach you manners Monsieur Cain? Prior to this group…no one feared going out but now……..words matter and I fear you hate will spark a hate crime

Patricia
Patricia (@guest_70143)
11 months ago

well put. LBGT and other groups that many are afraid of, ruining the children they adopt or take care of are being harmed by their beliefs? Hardly. Bullying and controlling different beliefs of the people are way way more harmful. Scary stuff happening here in this country

Patricia
Patricia (@guest_70142)
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard Cain

Isn’t this America, the previous twice impeached President sure did not like freedom of the press. I believe he threw reporters and media out of his ridiculous all about him press conferences, calling them enemy of the state and other derogatory names. This is outrageous that somehow the leftists are goons and harassing others who are not in their agenda. Trump is still at this time calling any judge or FBI official names. This man will ruin this country if re-elected. Not to mention DeSantis who is taking and pulling books about real history, things that happened. Disney? Bad move, I always thought that this is a free country maybe the beliefs of the people are different. This isn’t Russia or other countries who control the lives and speech of their people.

Taylor
Taylor (@guest_69998)
11 months ago

I would like to see the Observer print some excerpts from the book Perfectly Normal. This way citizens will have a better understanding of the tug of war. To quote our Beloved President, Their is no such thing as someone else’s child. Not affiliated with any civic group gay or otherwise, my musings derive from
observation and self education.

Cameron M Moss
Cameron M Moss(@cmoss56)
11 months ago

I, too was issued a ticket to the event, and was disinvited by Mr. Knocke shortly before the session was to be held.
And my sole intent was to observe, listen, and work to understand – not disrupt. They had an unnamed special speaker planned, and I was interested to see what voices most interest the CDF members. Sadly, now, I will only know if they share that information. “Staying home” as was suggested by another reader and not engaging with those with whom we may disagree will not serve our common interests well – we can disagree and remain one people – and we will only come to common ground by working to understand one another and our differences.

I respect the choice that CDF made to not allow those that disagree with them into the meeting – however I am disappointed in that decision and found it to be insular and unwelcoming. If they were unafraid of sharing what they were planning to discuss, they could have allowed non-members in for the speaking session, and asked them to leave during a session of members-only business. Or they could have agreed to allow all who were interested to attend, and provide guidance about decorum (create a stir and you will be asked to leave) Options abound – CDF chose to keep the session closely held and limited to what they thought would be a “friendly” audience,

And nowhere in the advertisement or ticket reservation process was it declared to be a “members only” event.

It is difficult to not consider what they may be wanting to keep out of public view

PerryL
PerryL (@guest_70003)
11 months ago
Reply to  Cameron M Moss

Maybe because they know you are a kook like Sheila Cocchi and you have an agenda.

Marylynn Hibdon
Marylynn Hibdon (@guest_70037)
11 months ago
Reply to  PerryL

That was rude, divisive and unnecessary. We are still a society that SHOULD conduct ourselves in a respectable manner no matter if they are differing opinions.

Julia Newhouse
Julia Newhouse(@jnewt)
11 months ago
Reply to  PerryL

Well that’s a mature comment!!!

Robert S. Warner, Jr.
Robert S. Warner, Jr. (@guest_70073)
11 months ago
Reply to  PerryL

Sorry, Perry. Sheila speaks truth. The agenda is to ensure the First Amendment functions as intended. It’s my agenda as well.

Jen Wanta
Jen Wanta (@guest_70009)
11 months ago
Reply to  Cameron M Moss

Perhaps if the “News Leader” reported accurately so death and other threats were not received things might be different – your “claim” of just going to listen doesn’t line up with your previous and public agendas

Julia Newhouse
Julia Newhouse(@jnewt)
11 months ago
Reply to  Jen Wanta

Many attended the first mtg at a church and DID NOT disrupt!

Charles Loouk
Trusted Member
Charles Loouk(@charles-loouk)
11 months ago

Sounds a lot like the MSM – disagree and you will be silenced. (MSM= MSNBC, CNN, FeauxNews, etc.)

Jack Knocke
Jack Knocke (@guest_70007)
11 months ago

Mike, your disingenuous article is exactly what I would expect you to write. That is why a biased and hostile fake news is not invited. 
 
Several of those who sought to attend our meeting labeled CDF-Nassau members as homophobic, transphobic, racist, hate monger, false prophet, election denier, bigot, misogynistic, nazi, Christian nationalist and more. The press willingly echoes their statements with absolutely no proof or justification. What you didn’t say in your article is that we invited everyone who signed up to meet personally to discuss their interest in Nassau Citizens Defending Freedom. I guess this did not fit your narrative. You chose to put a fake quote “you must think like us” in your article. Your article is not factual.
 
Our meeting was a very positive faith directed meeting discussing local issues, how we can all work together to protect the innocence of children, encourage transparency in government, protect our county and preserve the Nassau County and American freedoms we all love. As we enter Memorial Day weekend, we should remember those who fought and died to protect our freedom, our liberty and our right to worship God. 

Guest
Guest (@guest_70018)
11 months ago
Reply to  Jack Knocke

If your goal is to control who can and can’t enter a county building then try having your meets at a private facility next time.

Not as Anonymous
Not as Anonymous(@wayned)
11 months ago
Reply to  Guest

For perspective on public buildings, just because a facility is owned by a local government does not make an event “public.” To put it in a simpler way of thinking, an individual or group rents/reserves a government owned facility, be it a community center or a picnic pavilion for a family gathering such as a reunion or wedding, the event is not public. The person, or in this case non-profit entity has the right to control who attends. They also have the right and the ability to hire off duty police personnel to provide security.

Guest
Guest (@guest_70052)
11 months ago

Says who? I’ve seen this before. A government building is a government building. Where is the statute or case law supporting that people can be banned from “private” functions at a government building? Were money and a license involved? This whole thing is ridiculous. If you’re going to plan an event and sell tickets then don’t set up off duty security or local law enforcement to harass the ticket holders. Last minute decisions to shun people who set aside their schedules to attend is about as ludicrous and devious as it gets.

Not as Anonymous
Not as Anonymous(@wayned)
11 months ago
Reply to  Guest

I’m not familiar enough with the personalities or history between the decision makers and the ones who were stoped from attending to say why this occurred. (Sounds like some folks have a history of or the perceived potential to be disruptive). My comment is focused on your point which questions the right of the holder at a reserved public owned facility. If you reserve the facility, you have the ability to decide who stays and who goes. Why don’t you get back at ‘em and reserve the facility and have your own event and not let the folks from CDF in. That’ll show ‘em! Just kidding!
The point is, when you reserve the facility, it doesn’t matter that it is owned by a govt entity as long as the renting party abides by the rules of the facility/rental agreement.
As far as case law, your question is backward. Show me the case law that says a government entity cannot be in the business of renting facilities for private functions. It happens all over our free country everyday!

Guest
Guest (@guest_70102)
11 months ago

Perceived potential means nothing. You could take a room of 150 people who make one claim, based upon how they perceive something, but it does not make their perception factual. I also never said there’s a law restricting private functions at government buildings. My problem enters when you sell tickets and then disinvite those same ticket holders, while also using the Sheriff’s Dept to push them out or keep them away. You want to talk backwards? Now THAT’s backwards. One could also make the argument that it’s unlawful. Peace of Assembly is one thing. Weaponizing law enforcement to scare off people are doing nothing wrong is another and embarks upon one of the fundamental rights of all citizens: Freedom from fear.

Julia Newhouse
Julia Newhouse(@jnewt)
11 months ago
Reply to  Jack Knocke

You seem to have an interesting definition of freedom, sir!

CDF Citizens DESTROYING Freedom
CDF Citizens DESTROYING Freedom (@guest_70061)
11 months ago
Reply to  Jack Knocke

Citizens Destroying Freedom for anyone not like you.

John Findlay
John Findlay(@jfindlay)
11 months ago
Reply to  Jack Knocke

I am surprised that Mr Knocke’s group seems to want to hide what goes on at their meetings. Shouldn’t they be proud of their activities and speakers and wish to share them with the community? They have certainly shared their opinions broadly on many issues.

Robert S. Warner, Jr.
Robert S. Warner, Jr. (@guest_70075)
11 months ago
Reply to  Jack Knocke

Jack. I fought to protect our Freedoms. I simply don’t agree with the subjective limits you attempt to use to hobble them. Mike Lednovich is as good a reporter as they come. We are lucky to have had his services as our Mayor, and now as a reporter who actually reports, not promotes. Sorry – fear and personal projection are always around. Did you serve, by the way?

Barb Gingher
Barb Gingher(@angeldoccie2003yahoo-com)
11 months ago
Reply to  Jack Knocke

Mr. Knocke I am Roman Catholic and let me repeat. We are all God’s children and equal in His eyes regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion and philosophy. Thank God my Sicilian parents raised me to respect any and all of our humans

Jen Wanta
Jen Wanta (@guest_70008)
11 months ago

Mike – those who smear, create fear, threaten via email, foster shame and guilt on those who only wish to protect children are not welcome – was there a deep hearted reason to attend or was it just to create a disruption – you’re not a truthful person Mike… and you know it

Sheila Cocchi
Sheila Cocchi(@srcocchi)
11 months ago

I was one of the people denied entry to the meeting.

There was no mention of a “members only” meeting only that registration was required. I registered for the event and printed my ticket. Snacks were requested, which I purchased to share at the event.

I have attended a similar meeting with CDF and another group. I sat quietly and respectfully listening to the presentation and the information provided closely and taking notes.

My interest in attending the monthly relates to the Supervisor of Elections Advisory Board of which I’m a member. The meeting was to discuss elections. CDF has made requests and engaged the SOE and my intent is to have available knowledge in my contributions to that Board.

CDF is perfectly entitled to limit their business meetings to their membership if they so choose. In my opinion, their decision to exclude people seems counter to their public facade of freedom.

Mr. Knocke did offer an invitation to meet, and agreed to by interested parties but have not heard back from him as of this post.

Steve Vogel
Steve Vogel(@stevedec)
11 months ago

I would point out that 501(c)3 organizations cannot be political in nature. It sounds like CDF is pushing that line.

Richard Cain
Richard Cain(@richardcain)
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Vogel

Channeling Lois Lerner are we?! Where do you people ever stop? There’s nothing political in any of this. Call the IRS!!! Sic them on these people. As I stated before … this is EXACTLY the fascist crap you folks engage in.

jeff Hirshberg
jeff Hirshberg (@guest_70047)
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Vogel

is CDF a non profit under 501c(3) ? Or 501 c(4)? If the former, Mr. Vogel is correct. If the latter, however, a so called “social welfare organization,” then (1) contributions are not deductible, and (2) the political restrictions that apply to a charity don’t apply here. In either case, a meeting held in a public facility should be open to the public. Besides, exactly what is it that they’re trying to hide?

Ruthellen Mulberg
Active Member
Ruthellen Mulberg(@rmulberg)
11 months ago
Reply to  jeff Hirshberg

Yes, Jeff. Though I am not up on all the details, there IS another category of not-for-profit n the IRS code that is very ambiguous as to what activities are permitted’ There hav been a number of investigative reports about other organizations in that category that are acting as “non-political” in name only.
It is really, really tough for the average person who wants to be an engaged citizen and informed voter to keep up with the actions of a few to legitimize their activities and agenda under the radar, while simply trying to live his or her life in peace, tranquility, health and relative comfort.

Richard Cain
Richard Cain(@richardcain)
11 months ago
Reply to  jeff Hirshberg

Mr. Vogel is correct in what kind of organization this is … for God’s sake it is on their website … this is not speculation. Look. Research before responding. Where he is offbase is on what the IRS defines as “political”. There is no candidate being endorsed here. But what the hey! Doesn’t matter. Let’s start up a new thread of attack and sic the IRS/Federal Government on them. Sure won’t be the first time this tactic has been used.

Dman
Dman(@darryl)
11 months ago

This is ridiculous Mike. They are a group of likeminded people meeting to advance their agenda and beliefs. I do not agree with them, but they have to right in this country to their opinion and meeting without having to include others who want to disrupt, eavesdrop, and repeat what is discussed out of context afterwards to discredit them. This is nothing but woke politics yet again, only those who agree with you can be respected.

Bill
Bill (@guest_70022)
11 months ago
Reply to  Dman

It’s not ridiculous. The reporter was asked to leave based on what? Rude or disruptive behavior? No. Was the reporter doing something to scare people? Nope. Saying the reporter was there to disrupt, eavesdrop or repeat what was discussed is only assumption. Not fact. Wasting resources to tell the reporter to leave was ridiculous.

Dman
Dman(@darryl)
11 months ago
Reply to  Bill

it is a private meeting and Shelia and other’s politics are well known.

Sheila
Sheila(@srcocchi)
11 months ago
Reply to  Dman

It’s Sheila. And you are?

Guest
Guest (@guest_70028)
11 months ago
Reply to  Dman

I don’t care what their politics are. None of that matters. They didn’t do anything to cause problems and using the Sheriff’s Dept. against a reporter who had been issued a ticket is about as twisted as it gets. But you want to call them kooks.Where is the mirror? Pfft.

Barbara Gingher
Barbara Gingher(@angeldoccie2003yahoo-com)
11 months ago
Reply to  Dman

goes both ways

Tammi Kosack
Tammi Kosack(@tammi-kosack)
11 months ago

Wow. Not sure which is more concerning, the change to a clandestine meeting or the comments to the article thus far. Maybe they were playing Bingo and didn’t want to be outed?

anonymous
anonymous (@guest_70030)
11 months ago

CDF has approached other “organizations of interest” to “introduce” themselves and express how they are “all about protecting children.” I am sure this is only the beginning of their efforts to jam their ideology down the throats of our community.

Taylor
Taylor (@guest_70085)
11 months ago
Reply to  anonymous

May I suggest a few more reads, The hips on the drag queens go swish swish swish,4-8 yrs old.,I love drag queens and the ever fun, Game of Queens(card game). All directed at children. Why?

Barbara Gingher
Barbara Gingher(@angeldoccie2003yahoo-com)
11 months ago
Reply to  Taylor

Nope

Peggy Bulger
Peggy Bulger(@peggy-bulger1949gmail-com)
11 months ago

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that before the arrival of Mr. Knocke and CDF, Amelia Island was a wonderful place to live, raise children, socialize with your neighbors and generally relax and enjoy our small town community. We all know that there are political opinions and allegiences that span the blue to red spectrum . . . but we didn’t let that ruin our relationships with each other — perhaps a good friend supports “the other team” but so what? I have friends here who are all over the political map, and most of my friends never talk politics, but we co-exist and share the love.

Not anymore. By suggesting that children in Fernandina Beach are “at risk” and targeting the LBGTQ community as predators, Knocke has created a false fear and a manufactured division that pits neighbor against neighbor. I, for one, am sick of hearing all of the imagined horrors that may befall us if we don’t suppress people who may be different. I hope that we can rise above this hysteria and see it for what it is — injecting false fear and hatred into the community for political purposes.

Oh we got trouble!! Right here in River City . . .

anonymous
anonymous (@guest_70034)
11 months ago
Reply to  Peggy Bulger

So true Peggy. I the 20 years I have lived here everyone worked together to provide quality services and protect children. What qualifications do Knocke and his crusaders have to determine what the educational and social-emotional needs of our children are?

Paula Mutzel
Paula Mutzel(@paula-m)
11 months ago
Reply to  Peggy Bulger

You are exactly on point…Fernandina is changing and not for the better..all of this is ugly fear-mongering and it is destroying the once welcoming character of the island. Such a shame.

Alan Hopkins
Alan Hopkins (@guest_70083)
11 months ago
Reply to  Peggy Bulger

Peggy

Thank you. Very well articulated. And I share a lot of your concerns about division. Just maybe not all of your conclusions as to the source.

Medardo
Medardo(@mmonzon)
11 months ago
Reply to  Peggy Bulger

Peggy, you have articulated well what many of us feel. Thank you.

Barbara Gingher
Barbara Gingher(@angeldoccie2003yahoo-com)
11 months ago
Reply to  Peggy Bulger

Very well said Peggy. Even if we all didnt live each others lifestyle, likes and dislikes, we at least got alone and fought common battles like conservation and such.

Kent Piatt
Kent Piatt (@guest_70035)
11 months ago

“The Freedom for Me but not for Thee Brigade” is within its rights to bar the rest of us from observing their “deliberations” so long as they’re being held at a private venue without the Sheriff’s employees serving as bouncers. This misuse of public resources demands further explanation.

Stephen Coe
Stephen Coe(@stephen-coe)
11 months ago
Reply to  Kent Piatt

I may be wrong, but I believe organizations can rent government-owned buildings for private functions and hire off-duty LEOs for security purposes.

Guest
Guest (@guest_70048)
11 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Coe
  1. Was the building rented? 2. Where is the statute that supports restricting or banning citizens who aren’t causing a disturbance at a government owned building? 3. Why was law enforcement called in to ban people who bought tickets? 4. This almost looks like a setup. Tickets were sold, people were disinvited and law enforcement was there to ban them. You can’t make this stuff up! Sheer lunacy.
Stephen Coe
Stephen Coe(@stephen-coe)
11 months ago
Reply to  Guest

1, Yes. 2. The First Amendment of the US Constitution. 3. See above comment re off-duty LEOS. 4. Paranoia strikes deep.
Finally, this is the last and only time I will respond to someone who doesn’t have the courage of his/her convictions to post under his/her real name. I may disagree with the opinions of any number of those who post here under a real name, but I respect the fact that they take a public stand. I give the other opinions no credence.

Guest
Guest (@guest_70066)
11 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Coe

It’s funny that you use the First Amendment to support CDF’s actions but you ignore the ones who wish to exercise the same right by not posting a name. You can post “Stephen Coe” but that doesn’t mean it’s your real name. You’ve already said that Freedom of Association protects CDF’s actions. Case Law? Where is it? There are four things that remove the right to Freedom of Assembly. Freedom of Fear is one of them. Delve into it. On #4 : If selling tickets to invitees is followed by disinviting the ticket holders and using the Sherriff’s Dept.as a watchdog to get rid of the ticker holders, you have to call it for what it is. Lunacy. Paranoia doesn’t jive. It is what it is.

Alan Hopkins
Alan Hopkins (@guest_70080)
11 months ago
Reply to  Guest

Another straw man. Change rhe the subject again. You said it was in the the Constitution NOT TRUE.

Being afraid of a group of people to assemble does not override their right to assemble. Otherwise there would never be any group allowed to assemble because any coward could say I’m afraid. Is that clear enough.

Also,I don’t ignore cowardly people who wish to post honestly obviously because I’ve responded to you Mr guest!

Don’t post your name all you want. Obviously you don’t have the courage of your rantings. I run into people like you all the time.

Guest
Guest (@guest_70084)
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Hopkins

Who said anyone was afraid of the right to assembly? I never said that. I don’t believe anyone else here said that either. Now I am talking in circles. Either catch on or stop responding. If you do not understand the US Constitution and the fundamental right of freedom from fear, then take another look. Learn about Roosevelt. I find it humorous that you’re getting your panties in a wad over my name as “guest.” The fact is that you have no idea who is posting here. Asking for my name is the same as assuming the names here are real. That’s just as ridiculous as CDF. I could post a fictitious name but choose guest. You may not approve but at least it’s real.

Alan Hopkins
Alan Hopkins (@guest_70086)
11 months ago
Reply to  Guest

you’re getting your panties in a wad” your parents must be so proud.

I’ve had enough of your misogynistic hate and bigotry.
The right to assemble! here is the law of the land from the Supreme Court.

https://constitutionallawreporter.com/amendment-01/assembly-petition/

But I don’t think reading is your thing.

Dennis Jay
Dennis Jay(@dennisjay)
11 months ago

CDF: Citizens Defeating Freedom

CDF Citizens DESTROYING Freedom
CDF Citizens DESTROYING Freedom (@guest_70060)
11 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Jay

CDF: Citizens Destroying Freedom

Elyse Saunders
Elyse Saunders (@guest_70046)
11 months ago

I agree with the Fernandina Observer 100 percent!

Alan Hopkins
Alan Hopkins (@guest_70051)
11 months ago

Unfortunately as is so often the case misinformation runs amuck in our community. The hatred that is spewed about Jack is a perfect example.

It’s amazing that you all continue to ignore Jack’s comments on what he thinks of gay homosexual and transgender individuals. Because it doesn’t fit your narrative. Show me one hateful thing Jack said about any of these individuals.

As for a private organization holding a meeting in a public venue it happens all the time. Private organizations can definitely limit who gets to come and who doesn’t. It’s called freedom of association. You could look it up it’s in this little thing called the Constitution. As a matter of fact it’s number one that’s how important it was to the founding fathers. But I’m sure many of those who are hating on Jack have never read it or don’t understand it.

Organizations can exclude anybody they want including the press. There’s no guarantee of access in the Constitution. Now public meetings are different. But many of you you might know that and just want to hate on Jack anyway.

Personally I take a back seat to nobody in my history supporting individuals to love who they want associate with who they want and be who they are. If I was in town I’d go to the Pride parade. I would hope that there would not be overt sexual expressions at the parade. I wouldn’t want this in any public square at any time regardless of the group or sexuality.

To be clear nobody has the right to subject children to lewd and lascivious conduct. We don’t allow children to drink we don’t want them to own firearms we don’t allow them to attend NR movies and we certainly should not allow adults to subject them to drag shows in public spaces. The internet is filled with these types of depictions that are not meant for children. There’s some parents think that it is appropriate to show them to their children and there’s nothing that society can do to stop them. It doesn’t make it right just as allowing your kids to drink alcohol at the age of 10 isn’t appropriate either. If you can’t see the logic and reason why society is better served when children are protected from certain activities until they reach a certain maturity than I feel sorry for you and your soul.

I’ll be greatly disappointed if at least 20 of the bigots on here don’t downvote me. Probably all anonymously.

Unlike many I’m not afraid to put my name up. I say what I mean I mean when I say. I wish nothing but the best for a community and it is clear to me some of you want nothing more than divide us with strawmen arguments.

Guest
Guest (@guest_70055)
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Hopkins

“Show me one hateful thing Jack said about any of these individuals.”

What Knocke Said? I’m talking about his actions. Go back to my previous comment. You and I or others can disagree about how information is perceived but facts are facts. Selling tickets, disinviting ticket holders and ordering them to leave at the hand of a deputy is messed up. Also show us the part of the US Constitution that gives a deputy the legal right to ban ticket holders who are doing absolutely nothing unlawful.

Alan Hopkins
Alan Hopkins (@guest_70072)
11 months ago
Reply to  Guest

So wrong again. Obviously you’ve never read it. Show me where in the Constitution it says if you buy a ticket to a private event that they have to let you in? You can’t because it does not exist maybe it should but it doesn’t. Stop making stuff up brave GUEST. It’s a private event the fact you have a ticket doesn’t mean they have to let you in believe it or not! Not allowing someone to your private event, yes an action, doesn’t make a person a racist xenophobe anti-cop anti-gay anti anything. Try again.

Guest
Guest (@guest_70078)
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Hopkins

Hahahaha. Read your own comment. You are clearly devoid of logic. If you buy a product at a store, do you think they should allow you to keep it? According to your “logic,” the answer would be no. You’d say it is acceptable to chase you out of the store and demand to take the product back.

Guest
Guest (@guest_70056)
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Hopkins

Ah! One more thing. The Constitution allows Freedom of Association, yes, but it also allows freedom from fear. Now who do you think felt fearful? CDF or the ticket holders who were led to believe they were allowed to attend but were blocked by a deputy? No brainer.

Alan Hopkins
Alan Hopkins (@guest_70074)
11 months ago
Reply to  Guest

Constitution allows freedom from fear? You got to be kidding. Fear of spiders Fear of heights Fear of people saying what you think are mean words. What a joke. It’s the opposite. Your freedom to offend me and maybe even frighten me with words is more important than my feelings. But since you brought it up I probably need to go to my safe zone and have you turned over to the authorities because you’re scared and offended me. I hope you see how ridiculous that is.

Please read it. It does not “also allows freedom from fear.” Try again! Please stop posting misinformation as a guest and use your name. It’s not hard but it might take some courage to actually stand by what you anonymously post. Good luck!

Guest
Guest (@guest_70079)
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Hopkins

You’re not only devoid of logic; you also do not know the LAW. Do your research. Then come back and talk to me.

Robert Warner
Robert Warner (@guest_70155)
11 months ago
Reply to  Guest

Credentials, please.

anonymous
anonymous (@guest_70077)
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Hopkins

When was this lewd and lascivious conduct in front of children? Please provide specific examples. The decision to “protect” children from the real world belongs to their parents, not a citizen advocacy group who may or may not share the values of the child’s parent. While under protected children may need adult support in managing real life circumstances, over protected children grow-up without the coping mechanisms to live in the real world.

Alan Hopkins
Alan Hopkins (@guest_70081)
11 months ago
Reply to  anonymous

Never said there was any. Please read again.

Jerry Torchia
Jerry Torchia(@agtorchia)
11 months ago

I am shocked. SHOCKED!

bob
bob (@guest_70057)
11 months ago

as always, the media and the hate-baiters are quite successful in getting everyone to hate each other with little reason.

Are you queer-cautious?
Are you loving to everyone?
Do you hate small-minded people?
Do you make it your normal policy to forgive others for bad manners?
Do you think that your ways are the only right ways?
Do you want to share your lifestyle with someone else’s child?
Do you think the government is your friend or foe?
Would you block anyone for their skin color?
Do you think that identity politics is a good way to run a country?
Is character more important than race?
Can a black person be racist? Or is this reserved only for whites?
Do you resent those with money?
How much do you need to become rich?
Do you routinely donate to those in need?
Is your car electric or the dreaded fossil fuel thing?
Are you ready to cut down a tree to build a solar plant?
Is every white a supremacist?
Why are some minorities now being called white supremacists?

This BS list goes on and on, and the world provides ample reasons for you to bitch at each other. Can’t the queers have a meeting without disruption; can’t the conservatives do the same?

As long as we are divided, those in power win. The citizens will turn to the powerful for answers. The powerful will take your money to create a solution to problems that they instigated by poisoning your minds day after day.
In the process, you will lose yet more freedoms.

It is NOT whether or not you are straight, gay, trans, black, white, fat, bulimic, Dem or GOP. It is only that you are kind and willing to listen to another’s opinion. You have NO power over another; therein lies trouble.

Without tolerance, we are doomed to argue until we fight. Europe has many examples of this in civil wars where thousands died in door-to-door murders for disagreements. and don’t be fooled, many of those conflicts were indeed religious or race-based.

Please observe your reactions to triggers. Does hate rise up in you? Do you react by posting more hate? I hope and pray that we can all see how we are all being played by powers with agendas, and step back to see the bigger picture. The alternatives are too grave to imagine.

An infamous man once said, “Can’t we all just get along?”

Taylor
Taylor (@guest_70069)
11 months ago
Reply to  bob

Played by powers with agenda. Unity, Criticism, Unity. Finally a voice with understanding and clarity.

Tim Walker
Tim Walker (@guest_70059)
11 months ago

Our local liberal lynch mob strikes again! Who will it be next? Evil developers, corrupt commissioners, people who dare do with their property as they see fit, mean conservative hate mongers, Christians, people who dare vote or not vote for someone because of their beliefs and character…. the local liberal heard of turtles will be coming for you. Just remember they are activists, not to be confused with agitators who’s beliefs they disagree with.

Barb Gingher
Barb Gingher(@angeldoccie2003yahoo-com)
11 months ago
Reply to  Tim Walker

“heard” ?????

Stephen Coe
Stephen Coe(@stephen-coe)
11 months ago
Reply to  Barb Gingher

Hey Barb. Maybe you should go back and read your own comments before criticizing others for grammatical mistakes. Glass house.

Ruthellen Mulberg
Active Member
Ruthellen Mulberg(@rmulberg)
11 months ago

Knocke and CDF are classic examples of doublespeak! All they want their meeting to be is an “echo chamber”. Sadly, none of this is a surprise!
It doesn’t help that our public education system has been so gutted, watered-down and abused, that the general population and their “loyal audience” in particular are not schooled enough to rationally evaluate the arguments they support. And, now in this polarized environment, I suppose my last comment would be attacked as “elitist”. There used to be some broad consensus that training, merit and experience in our society and especially in our leadership was GOOD thing!
I truly wish that I did not have to kvetch. But, woe is me!
“We have seen the enemy. And he is us!”

Thomas Washburn
Thomas Washburn (@guest_70067)
11 months ago

Why did CDF choose the American Beach Convention Center: a public building, used for a private meeting? Were residents of American Beach welcome to attend this meeting?
It is time for Mr. Knocke and/or other members of CDF to answer key questions about what are their objectives in our precious Amelia community.

Barb Gingher
Barb Gingher(@angeldoccie2003yahoo-com)
11 months ago

Exactly!!

Richard Cain
Richard Cain(@richardcain)
11 months ago

The amount of hate being spewed by the anti-CDF crowd is amazing. CDF simply wants to have a meeting and the jack boots who attend and demonstrate at City commission meetings and post on here their hatred and opposition to this group are amazed and shocked that they are not welcome to attend. And this suggestion that Amelia Island was a paradise of love and kumbaya before CDF existed is rather ridiculous. Some would suggest that until the Gay Pride crowd decided to try to make Fernandina Beach the new Provincetown that everything was rosy. I’m sorry you mistakenly feel you have some kind of constitutional right to attend someone else’s meeting … you simply don’t. Before you start preaching to everyone about love and acceptance blah blah blah … look in the mirror … because that’s not what I’m seeing. You folks have way too much free time on your hands if attending a meeting of a group you openly despise is your idea of a productive activity.

Sheila
Sheila(@srcocchi)
11 months ago
Cameron M Moss
Cameron M Moss(@cmoss56)
11 months ago

Posing as someone else to write something so unkind is simply wrong
Please delete this

Doug Mowery
Doug Mowery(@douglasm)
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Phillips

Thanks, Mike. I have to echo Tammi’s remarks that the commentary so far is worse than the issues the article brings up. It’s like a keyboard version of “Animal Farm”.

Charles Lindbergh
Charles Lindbergh (@guest_70111)
11 months ago

O darn, I missed another Knockehead Citizen’s Destroying Freedom “Night at the Garden” event!  Aw-shucks!! https://vimeo.com/234762935 

Barb Gingher
Barb Gingher(@angeldoccie2003yahoo-com)
11 months ago

The hate and anger on this thread is sickening and does not have a place in America. Everyone is a child of God and equal in his eyes so put it away folks and focus on Compassion and Kindness. No I was not invited to the party Mr Knocke had but that would be the very last place I would spend my time.

Barb Gingher
Barb Gingher(@angeldoccie2003yahoo-com)
11 months ago

Isnt it funny before the migration of the CCDF into our community, we had Veterans’ celebrations, Shrimp Fests, Pet Parades, Pride festivals and more without hate nor rancor. Now this group is implying that children are being exposed to less than moral behavior. That is total and absolutely fabricated with NO basis in fact except to stir hate and anger and division. So sad it has made its way onto this island. I long for the day we discussed tree conservation, parking, flood plane, development. Please do no allow them to disrupt our home.

Joyce
Joyce (@guest_70175)
11 months ago

My question is why use The American Beach community center. For a closed group like this, the people of American Beach have a history of not being included. I find that reprehensible; entitlement!!